Danville High School’s academic team wins Region 12 Governor’s Cup

By HALEY PITTMAN

Danville High School

Danville High School takes pride in its success with athletics, arts and academics. On February 18, 2017, Danville High’s academic team won first place in the Region 12 Governor’s Cup, winning its 11th overall title in the last thirteen years.    

The academic season runs the entire year. “Our first tournament is usually in September and we’re not finished until our national championship tournaments in April and May,” Rob Kremer, Academic Team coach, said.

The Academic Team competes in district, regional, state and national competitions. The team is divided into four categories: Quick Recall (a competition similar to “Jeopardy” that includes buzzers), Future Problem Solving (a team problem solving competition based on Paul Torrence’s Creativity Problem Solving Model), Composition (a competition where a student is given a topic and has a certain amount of time to write about it), and Written Assessment (an area that involves multiple choice tests on the following subjects: Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Arts/Humanities).

Quick Recall team members include Daniel McAllister (captain), Gus Crow, Amal Gondal, Anas Gondal, Eli Gooch, Sarah Goosey, Elizabeth Joiner, Ben Link, Charlie Lynch, Leif Pellant, Race Pellant, Saif Siddiqui and Emma Webb.

Quick Recall placed first during the recent quiz bowl competition. A typical quiz bowl competition involves the teams being split into preliminary pools (usually around 6 teams).  Each team plays a round robin against their preliminary group. The teams with the best scores then advance into playoff competition.  Depending on the tournament, sometimes those playoffs are a standard bracket like the ones you see in sports.  Other times, the playoffs are an additional round robin against teams with similar records.

“I think the quick recall results contributed the most to the win, because that’s worth about 10 points for winning it, so a solid chunk of the points we got. Overall, I felt that Regionals went as it should. No major problems popped up, and everything went as expected,” sophomore Eli Gooch said.

The team’s Written Assessment competition resulted in Eli Gooch placing first, Daniel McAllister placing second and Sarah Goosey placing third in Language Arts. In Mathematics, Anas Gondal placed fourth and Amal Gondal placed fifth. In Science, Anas Gondal placed first, while Amal Gondal also placed fifth. Lastly, in Social Studies, Daniel McAllister placed third. The team ended the competition earning eleven individual honors including 3 individual champions.

Preparation and practice are two key components in the Academic Team’s success. Practicing about three hours, twice a week, really paid off during the Regional Governor’s Cup competition.  “We normally practice two days a week throughout the year for about an hour and a half each day.  We recently increased that to 3 times a week since we have so many big tournaments coming up throughout the rest of the year.  In addition to that, our tournaments on weekends usually take up most of a Saturday (9 to 4 is pretty typical) and the members of the team put in a lot of additional study time outside of practice learning about topics that have come up in the past,” Coach Kremer said.  Anas added, “…most of us spend at least 30 minutes a day studying and preparing.”

Although academic competitions can put a ton of pressure and stress on students, the team had an overall good experience. Gooch added, “Honestly, sometimes it was really frustrating, but for the most part, I had a fun experience. I made a lot of friends, and Coach Kremer is the best coach!”

Coach Kremer is very pleased with the success the team has brought DHS, saying, “Our team has come together really nicely this year.  We have a good balance of experience and leadership from our seniors as well as younger players that have worked really hard.  We’ve had some of our best tournament results this year and several other really close calls, so I’ve been really pleased with how the team has performed and improved throughout the year.”

The Governor’s Cup is divided into three tournaments: district, regional and state. The team qualified for the state competition, which will be held on March 11-13 in Louisville, Kentucky. After the state competition, the team will head to the Small School National Championship at the end of April.  After that, the team will have some time to prepare to hopefully compete at the PACE National Scholastic Championship in June.

“The team we have right now is the most fun I’ve ever had coaching.  The seniors have all been with the team for 4 years, the younger players are some of the hardest working that have ever been on the team, and the way the group has meshed together has been great to see and be a part of,” Kremer concluded.